Doctors see alarming rise in cancer for young people
(CNN) – Early-onset cases of more than a dozen major cancers are on the rise across the globe. But what’s the cause?
Is it lifestyle choices or better screening technology?
According to a new study, more and more young people around the globe under the age of 50 are being diagnosed each year with early-onset cancer.
Dr. Suneel Kamath, a GI medical oncologist at Cleveland Clinic said, “This is exactly what I’m seeing in clinic unfortunately. And the number of people that are presenting with advanced and unfortunately often incurable cancers in their twenties and thirties definitely seems to be skyrocketing.”
Kamath says the variety of different cancers on the rise in young people really surprised him.
According to a review of 44 countries’ cancer registries, early-onset cases are rising for 14 types of cancers, many of which affect the digestive system. This includes the following cancers: colorectal, breast, endometrial, kidney, liver, pancreatic, prostate, stomach, thyroid and esophageal, although there are others.
Kamath said, “The typical risk factors we think of that would cause these different tumor types are definitely different, specific to each one.”
The review mentions that sensitive testing happening more in young people could account for part of the upswing, but many, including Kamath, say it mostly comes down to lifestyle, obesity, diets rich in processed foods, smoking and alcohol consumption just to name a few.
Kamath says one of the most important things young people can do is advocate for themselves when something doesn’t feel right.
“Pay attention to, you know, what’s going on with your body. Some people are going to get some resistance from their medical team, and it does mean they need to push a little harder to get to the bottom of what’s going on,” said Kamath.